The Craft of Writing – Film Focus – Visualizing the Anthropocene
R1A 002 | CCN: 29086
Harry Burson, Mathew Beauchemin
Location: Dwinelle 215
Date and Time: TU, TH 2:00pm - 3:29pm
What does climate change look like? This course will examine how films and other audio-visual media are representing human impact on the environment, ecological change over time, and a growing awareness of the climate crisis. We will look at films, video games, music videos and other audio-visual texts that are engaging the theme of ecological change and the climate crisis. Examples may include: Gravity (Cuaron, 2013), Wall-E (Pixar 2008); Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017); Mad Max Fury Road (George Miller, 2015); Still Life (Jia Zhangke, 2006), and games such as Subnautica: Below Zero and Minecraft. We will also think about our contemporary media environment, and what it means to take an ecological approach to media.
Along with short weekly writing exercises designed to help you generate new thought and practice your writing skills, in this class you will be asked to complete two formal writing projects. In the first writing project you will analyze a film sequence. The purpose of this project will be to practice noticing the elements of film art (mise-en-scène, composition, editing, and sound) in order to articulate how film means. For your second longer writing project you will use the close-reading skills that you develop in your first project to put your ideas in dialogue with critical texts. Since this is an introduction to college writing course, our collective work reading, watching, and questioning ideas about the climate crisis will give you the tools to become strong critical thinkers and will also provide the groundwork for developing well-formed and persuasive written arguments. Expect to find in this class the critical exchange of ideas, rigorous and fun debate, and generous feedback, all in the pursuit of discovering and pushing the limits of our collective knowledge.